What a leader encompasses is up for debate, but you can be sure Rajon Rondo‘s tussle with Kris Humphries in last night’s Nets-Celtics game wasn’t it. Was Rondo’s retaliation on Humphries misguided loyalty and a sign he’s not yet ready to assume his role as the Celtics’ on-court leader, or is it just another reminder Rondo isn’t like everyone else?
This was supposed to be the year Rajon Rondo finally became the undisputed leader of the Boston Celtics. With the Big Three now the Big Two, and with those two, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, limited by a lack of cartilage in their knees from tens of thousands of minutes logged on the NBA hardwood, the spritely Rondo and his unique game were supposed to lead the Celtics back to the top of the Eastern Conference. Except they’re hovering around .500 on the season, and now Rondo might get suspended after last night’s fisticuffs (if you can call it that) in Boston.
The crew chief at last night’s game, Don Capers, released a statement after Rondo’s ejection:
“Rondo initiated everything that proceeded after the foul. And when he and Humphries go into the stands, they are involved in a fight. Fighting is an automatic ejection.”
Whether Rondo is suspended further depends on the league’s reviewing of the game tape, but Rondo should expect a call from Stu Jackson later today, and a longtime GM that spoke with Y! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, said, “I think the internal argument will be to make it three, because it spilled into the stands.” Regardless of whether a three-game suspension or a two-game suspension is handed down later today, this is the third time in a year Rondo has been suspended after his on-court emotions got the better of him. Those aren’t the leadership qualities the Celtics need right now as they’re struggling to remain relevant in the East after coming into the season with title aspirations.
Rondo isn’t new to the league’s suspension policy. He was suspended for throwing a ball at referee Sean Wright in February of this year, and for bumping referee Marc Davis in April. Doc Rivers joked after the game, “Yeah, but usually he goes after the refs. This time it was another guy, so that’s better, I guess.” All snark, Doc has to be disappointed, and you can be sure he watched what he said about the incident for fear of a more extended suspension handed down.
The Celtics need Rondo, so why did he go after Humphries?